Monthly Archives: December 2015

Setting the book free

Phil: Right – Book 1 is finished. Done. Dusted. We’re just working on the marketing and have sold a few copies.

Our signing session before Christmas saw us leave with a few printed copies. Some of these have been given away as presents but I decided that I was going to do something different with one of mine.

My local station has a “library” in the waiting room on platform 3. In the corner of this marvellously restored Art Deco room there is a small bookcase. On the shelves are books donated by travellers. If you need some reading for your journey, you can pick it up from here for free.

In the collection is a copy of Kate vs The Dirtboffins.

I wonder what will happen to it. Presumably it will be picked up by someone who has never heard of us.

I hope they like it.


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So that’s what it’s all about

Candice: I’ve learnt something new over the Christmas period. I obviously know the importance of reading to everyone: vocabulary development, breadth of knowledge, for example, but I with a small child currently learning to speak didn’t realise the importance of nursery rhymes to this this development.

My daughter is nearly two and she is coming along with leaps and bounds.  I used to watch other parents and grandparents singing along like nutters with their small children and would say to myself, ‘I’m never doing that’.  But I am now the woman who can be heard singing ‘Baa Baa black sleep’ round the park.  And why, because she is learning at every step and the singing means new spoken words which eventually leads to understanding written words.

How do I know this?  Well she has a favourite teddy who has always been called ‘Teddy’  but a few weeks ago she started calling him ‘Teddy Bear’.  We couldn’t work out why until she started singing ‘Round and round the garden…’ which of course leads to ‘…like a teddy bear’.  She’s put two and two together and worked out that a teddy is a teddy bear.  Now, when she sees a picture of a teddy its always called a teddy bear.

She loves singing, and if its not Round and round, its Baa Baa, or Old Macdonald.  I wonder if she is aiming for a career as a pop star? Seriously, I’d like her to do something creative, knowing how much I love writing so I am hoping that the nursery rhymes and children’s book reading we are doing will lead to her having her head always in a book – like I was growing up.


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Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from Candice and Phil

And don’t forget, if you get a new Kindle or similar, you can buy our book from Amazon to try it out!

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Buy our book, or…

Buy our book or Phil will talk to you about trains

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by | December 23, 2015 · 8:47 am

Buy our book, or…

Buy our book, or Candice will get angry!

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by | December 22, 2015 · 8:49 am

An urgent appeal…

Please buy our book so we can have cake!

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by | December 21, 2015 · 8:51 am

Selling to blokes

mancoverPhil: I was chatting to friends about The Book a few days ago and was keen to find out why they hadn’t bought a copy, even though I’d been banging on about it on Facebook and Twitter for over 48 hours.

The problem, it transpired, is the cover.

A big red high-heel shoe appeals to women and a small number of men. For blokey blokes who drink brown beer and posses a full set of spanners in both metric and imperial sizes, it’s a turn off. They thought it wasn’t for them.

When I explained the contents – commenting that there was a lot of Tom Sharpe style humour (this was very popular) and buckets of cynicism about modern work, they were a lot more interested.

Fortunately, if you read the e-book version (available for a bargain £1.99), the cover is on the screen for a few seconds before you delve into the contents. Since your e-book reader is probably fitted in a manly camouflage colour case, no-one will know what you are reading.

But the print edition is still an issue. A similar one that the Harry Potter series suffered. Adults might like to read children’s books, just not ones that look like they came from the junior library.

The publishers solved it by simply issuing adult and children’s versions of the cover. On that basis, all I’ve done is produce a suitably macho version featuring elements of the story that will appear to the hairier gender.

OK, it’s not as good as Kari’s version but I think I’m getting there. All my ideas were stolen inspired by best selling man-books.

  • Explosion – Check
  • Roarty macho vehicle – Check
  • Pretty lady – Check
  • Macho lettering – Check

I’d have put some guns it it expect we don’t have any of those in the story, you’ll have to wait for Book 2 for this, and my search for “Brussel Sprout hand grenade” has so far defeated Google.

So, if you need to read your book in public and want it to bland in with your Andy McNabb collection, just print out the picture above and stick it over the cover. Camouflage – that’s the trick!

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So here it is …

XmasDecCandice: There have been many conversations on this blog over the years about Christmas. There is the well referenced fact that I used to have Noddy Holder’s mobile number. For those of you living on another planet he wrote and performed the biggest Christmas record in history.

There is also my role in ‘Nativity‘, a Christmas film that came out a few years ago, featuring yours truly, right behind Pam Ferris playing drunk.

And if you look along the left hand side of this blog you will see some short stories Phil and I have written including a Christmas themed one.

So, I think you will find that Christmas is important in the Nolan Parker world. Unfortunately, this year the Nolan part of that team has been laid up for the last week with the leurgy. It’s a bit annoying because I paid for a flu jab a month or so ago to try to stop this happening.

So the pre-Christmas celebrations have been paused, as well as the ability to do some book promotion.

But hopefully this week will start to get things back on track. It’s my team Xmas party on Thursday so I’m planning to make this horrible blocked nose disappear by then so I won’t be on the dance floor having to stop to blow my nose all the time.

Tomorrow I am off to do some Christmas present wrapping for a children’s charity, wearing my Christmas jumper and singing along to Christmas songs.

Then on Friday, Phil and I will be meeting for our last get together of this year. I suspect to talk about books, sign some copies to circulate and finally get those pictures taken. I’m planning to make sure I can cover the sore, snotty nose with makeup by then !

So enjoy that build up to Christmas and I hope you feel better than I do !

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Now the hard part: Selling the book

BuyNowPhil: On Tuesday, Candice was wondering what to do next once we’d finally pitched the book out into the big, wide, world. I feel the same way. We’ve been talking about this for years and now it’s done.

Trouble is that writing novels is full of hardest jobs.

  • Stitching enough words together to tell a story – Check
  • Polishing those words so the readers can enjoy them – Check
  • Publishing the words so others can read them – Check
  • Persuading people to buy the book – THAT’S the next job

Writing a book is a very personal experience. You live with your characters and story for years. Eventually, you decide they are ready for other people to see. At this point the project is massively important to you.

To everyone else, it’s just another book vying for attention on the ever crowded shelves of your local electronic book store.

We’ve pushed this on Facebook and Twitter. People have said nice things but the challenge is to turn those nice thoughts into sales. For example, one of my Facebook posts showing the cover quickly picked up 20 “likes”, but if everyone who liked it had bought a copy then our sales would be greater than they are.

I understand the problem and can sympathise. Hitting the Like button is easy. Going through the purchase process is fiddlier and time-consuming even if you are minded to hand over a couple of quid to your friends to find out what they’ve been talking about all this time.

Advertising people talk about OTS – “opportunities to see”, a count of the number of times someone is exposed to an advert. 5 exposures are (apparently) required for reasonable impact on the average person. Another 2 and you have a chance of changing behaviour, in this case making a sale.

So all we need to do is keep beating people over the head with the book and it will sell?

Possibly, but as we are both pretty selective about our social media contacts, at least on Facebook, there is the dilemma that the more aggressive you become, the greater the chance of spending your life lonely and living with cats rather than people.

Basically, we need to market this so we keep all our friends but still sell some copies. Over to you Mrs Marketing…

Oh, and do go and buy the book from Amazon or

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What do I do now?



Candice: Its my turn to write the blog post after the big launch.  And I don’t know what to say.

We’ve done what we wanted to do – published a book.  Phil even has physical copies for me to fondle later this week. So that’s it then…

I suppose the next step is to make sure we do some serious marketing to get people to buy it.  I’ve done an unashamed plug at work and sent an email round the whole department – so that should get some bought.  I’ve plugged on Facebook and Twitter as has Phil.  Now we need to ramp up the next bit – local press.  Time for a cheesy photo when we meet on Friday to send out to the press.

And then its more plugging over the next few months until the next book comes out.  I gave Phil a scare as I put in that Book 2 would be out in the summer, well we all love a deadline, but I think that is achievable as we have made a good dent in it and I have 5 days holiday to use by the end of March so I think some of them can be writing days.

I think the big build up is why I feel crap today – I’ve come down with a cold and nasty cough.  I just wish I was enjoying the fruits of my labour on a beach like my sister (not jealous at all).

So, plug time, don’t forget to buy Kate vs the Dirtboffins, now available on Amazon!


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